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Legislating the impossible

Legislating transitionThere is no way to undo advancement. There is no way to kill a technology.

Regulators and lawmakers can pour money into enforcement, but people will continue to act as they desire so long as the risk/reward payout is worth the effort.

Regulators cannot stop BitTorrent, the market must adapt to this reality. Regulators cannot curb recreational marijuana, it's an accepted part of western society. And regulators cannot stop 3D printed firearms, it's simply the emerging technological reality.

There are laws we must keep on the books because by giving in we lose our integrity as a society.

There are penalties we must escalate in order to escalate the risk of endangering society.

The greatest challenge facing tomorrow's society will not be poor legislation but a poorly educated public. With the power of online conversation, we can and must rise above the black and white of network journalism and learn to embrace the gray. The public must learn to distinguish between safety and security, between privacy and anonymity and between personal safety and economic enforcement. 

In the digital era, lawmakers will learn to look to the collective for our input, and learn to fear our wrath.

We have the tools to overcome all of these challenges. 

But it's going to mighty shaky as we learn to adjust to these new realities.